The Hobart Center for Foodservice Sustainability (HCFS) awarded its annual $5,000 grant to Olive, an Urban Dive in Dayton, Ohio, in recognition of the restaurant’s unwavering commitment to foodservice sustainability initiatives and the Dayton community. Olive’s impressive commitments to sustainability include: investing in equipment to reduce energy and water use, focusing on recycling, composting and cross utilizing ingredients to greatly reduce daily trash and food waste yields, and managing their own farm, as well as, relationships with over 50 local farmers for a true Farm-‐to-‐Fork program. This marks the seventh year for the HCFS grant, which is awarded to a business or organization judged to have the best-‐executed foodservice sustainability project.
“It is rare to find management and staff equally committed to their goal of providing high quality food following sustainable practices,” said Richard Young, Senior Engineer and Director of Education for PG&E Food Service Technology Center, and HCFS fellow. “At Olive, this is the norm. The owner practices what she preaches, and as a result, all of the staff have completely bought in. Not only are they limiting their impact on the environment, they are building into the local economy.”
Olive’s owner, Kimberly, leased the old Wympee Burger diner in downtown Dayton, OH, after its 72 years of operating as a greasy burger joint were over. She and her friends and family gutted the entire building by hand, replacing all mechanicals, interior walls, putting new HVAC equipment on the roof to make room for an ADA compliant bathroom, even excavating the entire floor in the kitchen to eliminate floor drains that had led to the rain water run-‐off sewers without anyone realizing since the building’s construction in 1938.
“We did everything we could to save labor and financial resources, while recycling and responsibly scrapping original materials and finding creative re-‐use for others,” said Kimberly Collett, owner of Olive. “The counter is made of wood from a tree my grandfather cut down 60 years ago, and we cut used bottles to make light shades. We even made our own tables out of poplar leftover from a wood auction, installed the cork flooring, and made our own ceiling tiles.”
Not only does this mindset pay dividends in fantastic culinary creations, after two years of being open, Olive was completely debt-‐free, a rare achievement in the restaurant industry. Another huge accomplishment – Olive’s commitment to recycling and cross utilizing natural ingredients and composting means they only throw away 6-‐14 pounds of waste per day. The commitment to sustainability is not without challenges, but the staff and chefs at Olive take it all in stride and embrace the unique opportunity to create new specials daily, with whatever they are able to source locally.
“We are given a lot of freedoms that most commercial kitchens do not experience,” said David Kerg, chef. “Olive is a chef’s playground!” “This is a one-‐in-‐a-‐million business,” said team member Sandy Bowden. “we enjoy telling people about it. It is so satisfying to make people happy and to see their eyebrows go up when they taste something. Serving people a great product is very rewarding for us.” Kimberly Collett, Olive owner, will serve as an HCFS Fellow for 2014/2015 and assist in selecting next year’s HCFS grant recipient.